Thursday, March 27, 2008

South Island New Zealand Part 2

Even pictures that you take from your car while driving on South Island in New Zealand can be so breathtaking. The sky is very clear, the mountains and lakes are naturally magnificient. Here is one of the shots to share.

After Christchurch we drove to Aoraki Mt. Cook which is the highest mountain in New Zealand. On our way there, we were caught in a traffic jam caused by hundreds of sheep. I have posted this picture before. I will upload a different picture when I win the battle with my scanner. For those who have not seen it, here you are.
Click here for the story. We were amazed how well a dog can be trained and entrusted to take care of the flock. New Zealand has the most sheep to population ratio. For the statistics, click here.

There are about 28 mountains that make up the Southern Alps of NZ. Activities include going on a 4-wheel drive safari, helicoper scenic flights with snow landing, fishing, hiking, etc. We decided to hike different trails on our own, often ending with different lookouts including glaciers. That evening the temperature dropped drastically and when we started running, my brother dropped our thermometer which we did not bother to find. We felt so good at the fireplace. We saw views like these pictures.

This is one of the pictures I took with Mt. Cook right in the center which is behind me. We climbed over rocks and snow to get this shot. My sister though slow, said she would not give up the hike for the sake of the such scenic views. If this picture doesn't load,
click here.
It is very scenic. It was the most beautiful hike in my life. We made a snowman but it was so ugly and funny looking. When my scanner is fixed, I will upload that picture. For more pictures of Mt. Cook by helicopter, click here. We did not take the scenic flight as we felt we were not rich enough to go on one. A 10 minutes introductory scenic flight over Fox or Franx Josef Glaciers cost $95 and $105 respectively! If you want to include a snow landing on Mt. Cook it cost at least $240. For the scenic flight map and cost details, click here.

After Mt. Cook, we went to Wanaka. The highlight of attraction in Wanaka is the Skyshow Centre, where you will find the largest collection of air worthy WWII Fighters in the Southern Hemisphere (information source). For those who are more adventurous, you may want to try tandem skydiving. See the tourism website with video and pictures here. I did not go for the freefall. Other things that you can do at Wanaka are trout fishing or just enjoy the beautiful lake view. See pictures below.

The highlight and best part of our adventure in Wanaka was learning to ski at the Treble Cone Ski Resort. I have a complete post on Ski Tour and Lesson with nice pictures and details posted here. I hope you enjoy reading as much as I have put them together.

I have decided to write on Lake Tekapo on a separate post as this post gets too long with numerous offsite clicks. I am still battling with my scanner to make it work right.

In less than 2 weeks, I will make my first trip to Mexico. I will take digital photos to share without messing with my scanner.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

South Island New Zealand 1

I am breaking up our travel on South Island into two parts. This is Part 1. Now, we are onboard the Interislander which is the ferry that took us from Wellington to Picton. The distance between the two islands across the Cook Straits is about 92 km or 58 miles and the journey takes 3 hours where you can enjoy scenic views including Marlborough Sounds. There were livestock, cars, trucks, trailers, and sometimes train coach on the ferry. Here’s the virtual journey with maps, description and pictures. For more information of the ferry, pictures and virtual tour onboard click here and navigate.

Below is a map of South Island by courtesy of backpack New Zealand.
For pictures of South Island not taken by me, click here.
If you look at the road map above, we traveled and visited Picton, Blenheim, Kaikoura, Christchurch, Lake Tekapo, Mt. Cook, Pukaia, and Wanaka. We ran out of time and could not make it to Milford Sound and Queenstown.

Blenheim is a small peaceful town and it was beautiful at night. If you like to go for whale watch, go to Kaikoura. This is a picture of me goofing around in Kaikoura. I was sitting on a bench, waiting for an opportunity to spot the whale.

Christchurch looks like a British city with a population of about 350,000 people. It is also known as the Garden City. We stayed at Rolleston House, which had a fenced up parking lot (car park) and within walking distance to the museum, Art Centre, Art Gallery and Botanic Gardens. The flea market accepted payment by credit cards which amused us.

This picture was taken at the fenced up parking lot mentioned above. We had a room to ourselves and a nice parking lot.
This picture was taken at the Botanic Garden. My brother said his sister looks like a doll.

Below is the picture of the flea market near the gallery which accepts payment by credit card.

Oops! I'm not sure whether below is the Art Center and Gallery. If not, it must be part of the museum. The museum is located next to the Botanic Gardens.
Below is a picture of hand-made fountains at a park in Christchurch. They're pretty.
Below is a picture of a floral clock which resembles the ones I have seen in Melbourne and Taiwan. I don't know who copied who. Maybe they didn't copy each other but have liked minds.

Look at the English Language College and Price Water House Centre. They are facing such scenic views. I decided to feed the doves.

For more attractions and activities in Christchurch, click here.

Next, we went to Lake Tekapo. I will continue with the rest of our journey soon. (Correction: After Christchurch, we went to Mt. Cook)